The Patriots have a history of snatching up players who participated against them in joint practices, writes Mike Reiss of ESPN.com, who goes on to examine which Saints and/or Bears — the two clubs that will hold sessions with New England this summer — could be of interest to Bill Belichick & Co. While some New Orleans players such as defensive tackle John Jenkins and wide receiver Brandon Coleman could intrigue the Patriots, both are likely to make the Saints roster, so rookie running back Daniel Lasco or linebacker Davis Tull could be more New England’s speed. From Chicago, linebackers Sam Acho and Christian Jones, as well as first-year receiver Daniel Braverman, could face uphill climbs to make the Bears roster, and thus worth keeping an eye on from New England’s perspective.
Let’s take a look at a few more items from the AFC:
- Veteran quarterback Josh McCown‘s status with the Browns seems to be in some dispute — while Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com believes the club would only trade McCown if they received a “tremendous offer,” Tony Grossi of ESPN.com disagrees (Twitter link), and doesn’t project McCown to make the final Cleveland roster. After waiving Connor Shaw on Thursday, the Browns now field Robert Griffin III, McCown, Austin Davis, and third-round rookie Cody Kessler on their depth chart, as Roster Resource shows. McCown was thought to be a trade candidate earlier this offseason, with the Broncos among the teams that reportedly expressed interest. If Cleveland ends up releasing McCown, the team would save nearly $3.4MM on its salary cap.
- The Broncos have engaged in “good talks” with wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, but recent receiver contracts have altered the playing field in negotiations, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter link). Allen Hurns, Keenan Allen, and Doug Baldwin have all agreed to extensions with their respective clubs in recent weeks, and all three inked deals that average more than $10MM annually and contain more than $12MM in full guarantees. Those figures would seem to be floors for Sanders, who tops that trio in receptions, yards, and approximate value since 2014. Denver management reportedly exchanged contract offers with Sanders and his camp at the end of last month.
- Extending Andrew Luck is just the first step in turning the Colts into perennial contenders, opines Mike Wells of ESPN.com. Instead of trying to apply a “quick-fix” approach as they’ve done in years past — signing over-the-hill veterans in an attempt to go “all-in” — general manager Ryan Grigson and his staff plan to build through the draft; develop those players once they’re in the Colts system; and retain them with long-term contracts. All in all, this means the days of signing the likes of Trent Cole, Todd Herremans, and others over the ago of 30 are probably over in Indianapolis — extensions like the ones inked by Luck, tackle Anthony Castonzo, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, and tight end Dwayne Allen are more likely to become the norm.